Narcissism, Phobia, an Achilles Heel, the Midas touch... A Sales Rep?
Greek language and mythology has had a tremendous influence on the English language. In our everyday lives, we use Greek rooted words, stems, prefixes and definitions.
Many come from myths as well as stories of gods or goddesses.
Mythology was a means to explain the environment in which Greeks lived, the natural phenomena they witnessed and the passing of time through the days, months, and seasons.
These myths were used to story-tell around historical events in order to maintain connection with their ancestors, the wars they fought, and the places they explored.
As I spent this past week in Athens, Greece working with an amazing sales team who's going through their own transformation, this got me thinking... Greek mythology sure reminds me of sales reps and their managers.
GREEK GODS AND SALES REPS
There are those who think ancient Greek mythological stories are nothing more than a bunch of outdated tales, sorry folks; you might just be incorrect. These stories may have been written thousands of years ago but it's good to remember they were written by wise men who had a hand in helping shape the way we view sales reps.
So who are just two of these Greek gods and goddesses?
HERMES - GOD OF THIEVES AND MERCHANTS
Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maia, one of the Pleiades. He was a mischief-maker; the King of all thieves. Hermes was the fleet-footed messenger of the gods. Aren't many in sales the fleet-footed messenger's on behalf of their organizations? Hermes was quite smart at both sneaking out of sticky situations and convincing of his innocence, sounds a bit familiar?
The Greeks looked upon Hermes as a patron of travelers, merchants, thieves as well as a bringer of good luck. Sales reps do bring good luck to their company, don't they?
ARES - GOD OF WAR
Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, both of whom hated him (according to Homer). Ares represented the violent and physical untamed aspect of war. He was the embodiment of an insatiable and overwhelming thirst for destruction and slaughter.
Successful sales reps have a thirst for destruction and slaughter - their competition.
Ares was high-tempered and impatient. He had zero tolerance when it came to mistakes and he was always ready to pick a fight; winning at all costs, even when there was nothing valid or necessary to win.
During this past week, I conducted my own research into Greek mythology. Allow me to introduce you to a few of the slow growing, self-induced diseases infecting sales reps that I found closely aligns to Greek mythology.
These self-induced diseases have cures. It's how well you're willing to keep an open mind to new ideas, new methodologies and a new set of skills to allow you to professionally advance your career.
GREEK MYTHOLOGY'S IMPACT ON SALES REPS
Those who are successful build a strategic plan to develop new accounts while building a fortress around their current clients. With daily precision they stand on guard, protecting their vital assets like the Greek god Ares. Their ability to teach, tailor and take control of their own destiny is why they explode past their quotas.
"Ditch the Pitch! Explore the challenges your prospect's face, the goals they need to achieve, how they plan to get there and when it needs to be achieved"
Unfortunately, as time passes and a complacent work ethic sets in, many in sales allow themselves to become infected with slow growing, career infected diseases.
New business development (prospecting) requires determination, dedication and discipline. Plain and simple, this ultimately will determine the success or failure of your sales funnel. Consistent prospecting is a serious endeavor which requires a game plan and a commitment level in order to drive sales growth.
Let's face it, you didn't start your sales career off by saying “I just want to be good enough.” You worked your ass off! With consistency, vigor and enthusiasm (albeit you didn't know any better) you had to prospect for new business.
Sports athletes don’t come out of rookie training camp saying, “I’m shooting for average – average skills, average income and average performance.
When you started in sales you didn't set out with the goal of hanging on, just doing enough to “get by”, or riding it out by figuring out how to survive until you can inherit another sales reps accounts. Well, at least not in the beginning.
You worked your ass off and then you became infected with Lackitis Prospectitus. You learned the mindset. You learned the behavior. You learned to settle. You became a master of managing it as it engulfed you without noticing. Lackitus Prospectitus infected your ability to proactively develop new business.
Our mind can be convinced of almost anything if you tell it the same story over and over again.
Here lies the question...
Are you really happy with average results or have you just convinced yourself that’s the case?
"A thin line separates success from failure, the great companies from ordinary ones. Below that line lies excuse making, blaming others, confusion, and an attitude of helplessness, while above that line lays a sense of reality, ownership, commitment, solutions to problems and determined action. While losers languish below the line, preparing stories that explain why past efforts went awry, winners reside above the line, powered by commitment and hard work."
The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability
Just as Lackitus Prospectitus has run rampant inside many sales teams, the dreaded Enablementus Managementus continues to rear its ugly head.
This slow growing disease has legs which spider throughout the sales floor. Just as you must be developing new business, your manager must be developing you and your team.
The only person they have to blame for the lack of profitable new business besides you, are themselves. Enabling you to continue on with your behaviors and actions stifles growth. It's this lack of accountability and enablement mentality which fuels the sales death spiral.
Rampant excuse-making causes stagnation. I encourage both of you to hit Enablementus Managementus over the head and ask yourselves...
- What can we do to help set proper expectations?
- What can we do to bring in consistent training and stick to it?
- What can we do to create a more motivated sales environment?
Accountability is essential to rise above the circumstances.
This disease doesn't happen overnight. This is brought upon via Enablementus Managementus. Babius Maximus or Cry Baby is derived from the ancient Greek word morós meaning moron and comes from the root mor - for foolish, the word moró has the same root but it's heard much more often ... as the word for baby.
Let's face it, sales departments are merit based, top sales reps – those who truly make it happen are typically treated significantly better than any other employee in the company. Elite sales reps make more money (usually among the highest earners in the entire company); they have more fun (ever seen a President’s Club trip for non-sales members); they have more freedom and they get more perks (car allowance and expense account).
In many ways, successful sales reps are treated like elite athletes: as long as they're performing, they're pampered. Unfortunately, many reps believe they're too good to follow the company’s rules and they know they get away with it.
When sales slumps occur or they lose a deal they turn to crying to get attention. "I need more leads"!
There's a cure for Babius Maximus. It starts at the top of the sales food chain. A great leader constantly thinks about the teams overall culture and health. They understand sales reps have flaws and are prone to develop bad behaviors. They address these behaviors with the appropriate level of response and strategy. Meanwhile, a bad leader puts up with your B.S. in exchange for the next deal.
DON'T HOLD BACK YOUR CAREER
Throughout sales history, ego might be the single biggest flaw for the downfall of those in sales. Let's add in a splash of fear, complacency and pride to round out the mess.
I encourage you, please don’t succumb to the dreaded disease of stagnation.
I shared some comedic twists and wacky analogies but with all sincerity it's to drive home a huge point - change is necessary to fuel sustainable growth. I get where you're coming from. I walked a day in the life of a sales rep. I chose to become a sales professional.
I understand and I get it. I get where you all are coming from. Every day, I walk in your shoes. I'm fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social aspects through the eyes of a practitioner into your current sales process to grow new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way, the genuine way, the authentic way! It's about understanding value before visibility.
Selling From the Heart is making a difference! I poured my heart into every page of this book and I think you're going to love it. You can find it on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. You can click on the book image below and this will take you to Amazon.
I encourage you to find out more about Selling From The Heart.
In a world full of empty suits, I'm passionate about helping sales reps succeed by getting valuable before they get visible. I help sales teams understand the true value they bring to the market.
I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my stories. Integrating the use of social and sharing my story on LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive office technology world. With great pride I transform, challenge, coach and inspire sales teams to grow new business by helping them share their story and how they communicate it out by integrating the use of social inside the sales process. You can follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter and on my podcast by clicking on Selling from the Heart.